While many gamers still choose to stick with customizable desktop rigs, others simply opt for a system that is more portable, and that’s where gaming laptops come in. Over the past few years, gaming laptops have become faster, sleeker, and more portable. Our ideapad Y700 17-inch review takes a look at one of the latest gaming laptops from Lenovo. Read on to see why the Lenovo ideapad Y700 17″ gaming laptop earned a spot in our Top Picks of 2016.
Lenovo’s ideapad 17-inch Y700 gaming laptop features the following specifications:
- Processor: 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor @2.60GHz
- Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit
- Display: 17.3″ FHD (1920×1080) LED Anti-Glare Backlit
- Video Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB DDR5
- Storage: 128GB SSD (primary) + 1TB 5400RPM (secondary)
- Memory: 16GB PC4-17000 DDR4 2133MHz
- Audio: 2 x2W JBL® speakers with Chamber + 3W Subwoofer and Dolby® Home Theater™
- Camera: HD 720p, 2x Internal Digital Array Microphone
- Integrated Communications: Intel Wireless-AC 3165, Bluetooth 4.0
- Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 (Always-on), 2-in-1 Audio Combo Jack, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 4-in-1 Media Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC), Ethernet
- Battery Life: 4.5 hours (60WHr)
- Weight: 7.7lbs (3.5kg)
- Dimensions: 16.56″ x 12.00″ x 1.10″ (423mm x 305mm x 27.95mm)
The ideapad Y700 is also available in 14″, 15″ (touch and non-touch versions), and other 17″ configurations.
What’s in the Box
The ideapad Y700 17″ gaming laptop is pretty standard fare with what’s in the box and includes the laptop and a 100-240V ~2.5A 50-60Hz input/20V 6.75A AC adapter. Available accessories include the Lenovo Y Gaming Mechanical Keyboard, Y Gaming Surround Sound Headset, Y Gaming Precision Mouse, and Y Gaming Active Backpack. Check back later this week for detailed reviews for the headset, mouse, and backpack.
Upon opening the box the Lenovo ideapad Y700 ships in, you are greeted with one slick looking laptop. The exterior features a brushed aluminum lid with a couple of creased angles to give it an even sleeker look, and the bottom cover is brushed aluminum as well.
Opening up the laptop, I first noticed the hinge complete with “cutouts” on each side above the red JBL speaker grills located at the top left and right of the laptop. The grilled design wraps over towards the back of the laptop. The hinge itself makes up just over half the width of the laptop, and is quite sturdy considering it doesn’t go from edge to edge like most other laptops tend to. Each key has a black surface with a transparent red edge which is visible when the backlight on the keyboard is off, on low brightness, or high brightness. In addition, the red edge wraps over to the top around the top edges of the WASD keys, which in turn make them a bit more visible at a glance and shine a bit brighter when using the backlighting.
The power button is located in the upper right corner to the left of the speaker grill, and the touchpad is located underneath the keyboard as would be expected. The entire area around the keyboard and touchpad is coated with a slightly rubberized finish which wraps around the side and front edges of the laptop. The keyboard is very comfortable to use, and the soft finish of the surface around the keyboard adds to the comfort level.
The left side of the laptop houses the DC-in charging port, USB 2.0/Always-on charging port, the 4-in-1 media card reader, audio combo jack, and a Novo recovery port which is used to start the Lenovo OneKey Recovery system. On the right side you’ll find a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI Video out, Ethernet port, and Kensington lock slot. The 3-watt JBL subwoofer is located underneath the laptop on the bottom panel. Near the back on the bottom panel is one of the two exhaust ports, the second is straight out the back embedded in a fin looking design.
The sharp angles and design of the ideapad Y700 is very slick looking, and definitely feels polished and is very pleasing to look at.
The display on the 17″ ideapad Y700 is a 17.3″ frameless FHD (1920×1080) LED anti-glare backlit screen. At first, I thought a 1080p screen might be underwhelming on such a large screen, but in the end it allowed games to run well at pretty much maximum settings (more on that later). As for the display itself, it’s pretty readable in various lighting conditions without too much glare, and the frameless display adds to the sleek design, even though there is a black bevel around the edges of the screen.
The 15-inch version does come with touch options, and a UHD option and it would have been nice to see the 17-inch version come with the same options.
The Lenovo ideapad Y700 ships with the 64-bit version Windows 10 Home. At the operating system level, Windows 10 runs great and every task was quick. As with most Lenovo machines, additional applications are installed and a few free trials are included as well. The most useful is the Lenovo OneKey Recovery app which allows you to make a system image of your primary partition which you can restore from at a later date. You can also choose to restore your system to the initial state in which you received it.
Other Lenovo applications include:
- Lenovo Companion 3.0: allows you to optimise your PC’s system, connections, and security
- Lenovo ID: allows you to access various Lenovo tools and sites with a single log-in
- Lenovo Photo Master 2.0: organize and edit your photos
- Lenovo Settings 3.0: centralized dashboard for your PC
- Lenovo SHAREit: allows you to share files and documents across various devices
- Lenovo Solution Centre: updates you with statuses for your system
While a few of the apps above seem to be duplicates of default or other available applications, there are enough subtle differences that some users might prefer them. These applications can also be uninstalled if you don’t want to use them freeing up space on the 128GB primary SSD drive.
In addition, 30-day free trials from McAfee LiveSafe and Microsoft Office 2013 are included. What gamers will find useful though, is a free 90-day trial to OnePlay which provides access to download and play 1500+ premium games on both PC and Android devices.
Just how well does the Lenovo ideapad Y700 perform? With a 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M video card with 4GB of RAM, you’d expect it to perform well and it doesn’t disappoint. I started off a bit easy, loading up Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm. I’ve never had the opportunity to crank the settings and quickly set everything to the highest setting possible. As a result, I was seeing between 45-50 FPS (frames per second) during intense battle sequences, and the extra visuals definitely made the game just that much better.
Next, I installed 2013’s Tomb Raider and while I couldn’t get 60 FPS at maximum settings, I was able to get it at the second highest setting. One of the more graphically intensive games back in the day was Crysis 2. Again, on ultra setting I was again getting 45-50 FPS while on extreme settings I was hitting between 50-60 FPS. Older games like Sniper Elite II maxed out at 75 FPS and higher.
Here’s a quick video of Heroes of the Storm gameplay at 1080p60.
One of the things that impressed me the most while gaming was when I used GeForce ShadowPlay. If you haven’t heard of it, ShadowPlay works with specific NVIDIA cards and allows you to record or stream your gameplay to Twitch.
CPU intensive applications, such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, also run exceptional well. Photoshop opened quickly, Lightroom processed and exported images fast, and video editing and exporting in Premiere was smooth and quick as well. As it runs in the background and uses GPU acceleration, there is next to no drop in gaming performance while recording or broadcasting your gameplay. The only issue I ran into here is that it appears you are only able to broadcast to Twitch at 720p and not full 1080p, while recording gameplay locally allowed for 1080p recording.
The ideapad Y700 also has optimized thermal cooling, and even after extended gaming sessions the laptop never felt overly hot. Overall, the performance was fantastic, from gaming to other intensive applications.
One of the downfalls of a lot of laptops is the sound. The Lenovo ideapad Y700 comes equipped with 2 x 2-watt JBL speakers and a 3-watt subwoofer. In addition, a Dolby Audio desktop app — professionally tuned for Lenovo — is included. As a result, from gaming to music and even movies, the speakers and sound on the ideapad Y700 is surprisingly good. The Dolby Audio app lets you select between Dynamic, Movie, Music, Game, and Voice presets, as well as let you personalize your sound experience with an equalizer and toggles for Virtual Bass, Surround Virtualization, Dialogue Enhancement, and Volume Levelling.
The 720p HD camera with its 2x Internal Digital Array Microphone works well enough for hangouts, video chat, and even recording while playing or streaming games using NVIDIA’s ShadowPlay.
Being a beefy gaming laptop, I don’t expect extended battery life. Lenovo’s specification sheet claims 4.5 hours of battery life on a single charge. Of course your battery life will vary based on the tasks you do but using a mix of gaming, video watching, music listening, and basic web browsing I was able to get roughly 4 hours each time I used it on battery.
Our review unit has a regular price of $1,649.99USD, and is currently on sale for $1,349.99 on the Lenovo website. With the available configurations and pricing, value will vary depending on the specifications you are after. Based on performance and the current price of our review unit, you definitely get the bang for your buck with a solid performing gaming laptop. The free 90-day OnePlay trial is only the icing on the proverbial cake.
If you’re into gaming and looking for a portable PC gaming solution, the options available in the ideapad Y700 17-inch gaming laptop line are definitely worth a look. Slick design, great performance, the ability to record and stream your gaming with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M, and the available accessories will give you plenty of bang for your buck. If the 17-inch size is too big for you, check back soon for our review of the ideapad Y700 15-inch gaming laptop, as well as reviews on the Y700 Thinkcentre desktop gaming machines.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Lenovo ideapad Y700 17″ for the purposes of this review.
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